December 2, 2011

The Supportive Community of Flinders Island

This heart felt letter was sent to the Island News on Flinders Island from Shannon Barrett and Amanda Blyth.

We write from Sydney, where the city, it seems, is as tall as Strzelecki and the water at Bondi appears as clear as Trousers Point. We have been her a month now and Shannon is the fittest he’s been since early 2007.  I now wish that i had have used to my advantage the time in hospital that i was, and will never be again, stronger than him!

The physiotherapists at Walk On are good at what they do. They have had Shannon preforming assisted exercise that were previously out of reach for us, simply because our eyes had never been opened to them before. We know now a lot more. And the exercise are quite simple. Basically, Shannon sends out signal from his brain for his muscles to work and once he has sent that signal, the physiotherapist will do the physical action for him. So, he is feeling new muscles working, but he can not move those muscles voluntarily. The aim is for his nervous system to get re-activated. Whether his current nervous system get a big kick, or a new connection is made, no one is completely sure. Only time will tell.

Shannon also has a few back muscles he knew he had, but never knew how to engage them, but know we know they can work in a positive way and  in return his core strength and stability will be greatly improved. So, with working the few long last muscles he has, getting fitter and stronger, encouraging his nervous system to find a pathway and receiving motivation and positivity from the wonderful team at Walk On, we would say this Sydney venture is already a success.

Of-course, this physio would never be happening without the love and support from our family, friends, strangers, friends of strangers and the whole community of Flinders Island! We had money saved, but we were a little naive to think we had enough. This place is expensive!! For people to raise so much money for this quest is just incredible. You have all been so amazing with your support and we can’t thank you enough. So, to all the beautiful people in our lives who gave so generously with their time and money, know that we will always remember it and appreciate it.

If you would like to see photos of Shannon during his physio sessions visit this blog.

We have one more good piece of news. It didn’t take us long to realize we had to take this physio home with us, because moving to Sydney doesn’t get much enthusiasm on our behalf! so, a few quick emails to David Heap, and he was on a plane for Sydney. He gave his time and money to come up and see for himself what this physiotherapy involves. Together, with a couple of sessions, lots of photos and videos and Shannon’s memory, David will be taking on Shannon’s physio in the new year. All we need now is a Flinders gym!

From the very humbled, Amanda Blyth and Shannon Barrett.

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